What is that to You?

Earlier today I read a friend’s blog that mentioned struggling with “Cyber Envy.”  You know, when you see people’s facebook statuses, tweets or instagram photos and start to feel a little jealous of their lives?  I’m sure we’ve all experienced it one time or another when we so easily forget that people  only post the best parts of their lives online.  Let’s be honest: who is going to put a facebook status that says, “ugh I feel so ugly and depressed today” or “My husband and I are currently in a huge fight today.  He really sucks right now.”?  I mean, I may or may not have cropped out most of my arm in post baby pictures on facebook.  May or may not have.  I’ll never tell my secrets ;-).    But who is going to post pictures of themselves when they first wake up in the morning, when they’re doing monotonous chores around the house or while they’re at work? People post pictures of  vacations and fun events.  So you look at their Facebook page or Twitter or whatever, and all you see is beauty, fun, games, and humor.  It’s hard to recognize the fact that what we are cyber envious of is exactly that- “cyber.”  It’s not real.  We’re not seeing whole people through online networks so we’re coveting lives that are not reality.

All of this made me think about a sermon our Pastor gave several weeks ago from John 21:18-2  titled, “What is that to You?” I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  (If you’re interested, you can find the sermon here.)  In this passage in the gospel of John, Jesus basically tells Peter how he is going to die.  Peter responds by asking about what the deal is with John (the “disciple Jesus loved”) and what was going to happen to him.  You know, playing the comparison game.  Jesus responds to Peter, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”  Dang, Jesus!  Guess he put Peter in his place.  But as William (our Pastor) pointed out, don’t we do this all the time?  “Why does she get to be engaged, but I’m still single?”  “Why are they able to have a baby, when we’ve been unable to conceive?”  “Why was he recognized for his hard work, when I work way harder?”  “Why was she able to get my dream job, while I’m working one I hate just to make ends meet?”  “Why are they able to buy a house as newly weds, but we still can’t afford to even as we’re starting a family?” “Why was she able to lose the baby weight so fast, while I’m still sporting mine?” <– These last 2 are the ones I typically struggle with.  The list can go on and on.   And it’s not that these things are not legitimately hard or that God doesn’t have compassion on us.   But we’re always looking at someone else and wondering why they’ve been given the blessings they have and measuring our lives beside them.  How does Jesus respond to that?  “What is that to you?”  Each of our lives, circumstances and blessings are a unique part of our story that God is writing.  He is the author.  He decides what blessings to give us, and He is purposeful and intentional in it.  There are specific things for each one of us that  God wants to show us, teach us, and gift us with.  We need not worry about what He is teaching someone else or doing in their lives.

Recent example: If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I have struggled in the past couple of months with my post-baby weight.   If you don’t keep up with my blog, well I struggle with my post-baby weight.  Thankfully I am in a much better place with it now (meaning in my perspective of it.  I still haven’t lost it), but I was constantly finding myself asking God, “why was she able to just take the weight off, and I haven’t?”  I would even sometimes exclaim, “it’s not fair!” (as if I have any right to tell God what’s fair and what isn’t…)  Well a couple of weeks ago I was hanging out with a friend who lost all her baby weight before her son was even 4 months old.   Her doctor had put her on a very strict diet for health reasons for her baby, so it came off pretty quickly.  But she was telling me about how she used to struggle with an eating disorder, but has been clear of it for several years now.  She told me, “I don’t know where I would be with post-baby weight right now if it weren’t for that diet my doctor put me on, but I really think it was God’s grace that took the weight off for me.”  It was then that I realized the truth behind the words of the sermon.  For this specific friend, God helped her take the weight off fast, as a beautiful gift of grace, probably saving her from having some of her eating disorder struggles come back to tempt her.  That’s her story with God.  He is doing specific things in her life.  But for me, there were are some deeper heart issues that God wanted to deal with (vanity and competing with other women to name a couple– you can read about it here) so He’s kept the weight on in order to bring them to the surface.

So today if you find yourself struggling with “Cyber Envy,” or just envy in general, think of Jesus saying, “What is that to you?”  Perhaps it will bring a little smile to your face.  Remember that God created you to be who you are, look how you do, and He has given you many blessings and is intentional with what He wants to show you, teach you, and do in your life.

I’ll close with a quote I saw on a friend’s facebook status today:  “When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, doesn’t it ALL become gift?”- Ann Voskamp

My Favorite (Summer) Things

I recently asked a friend to blog about some of her favorite things this summer and then decided I would do the same!  Here are some things that I am really enjoying this summer, maybe you will too:

FOOD

  • Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken or Frozen Chicken Quesadillas from Trader Joes!  I love to cook, but sometimes it is nice to have a lazy summer day where you get back from the pool around dinner time and can just toss something in the oven or microwave.  These are great for nights like that!  And both of these options honestly taste just as good as my home cooking (that is supposed to be a compliment to Trader Joes, not bashing my cooking ;-)… at least I hope that’s true!)
  • ROO CUP!!! Please tell me you know about the ROO cup.  The ROO cup is a big, plastic cup you can buy from Kangaroo Express gas stations for $6.99 and then get $.25 refills all summer long!  That would be of fountain drinks or slushies. I love my ROO.  It’s even become a noun in the Maroon household.  It’s not, “I’m going to go get a half diet, half regular coke,” it’s, “I’m going to go get a Kangaroo!”  Which I do daily, by the way. Last year it was free refills all summer, which is clearly way better.  But I’ll take what I can get when it comes to cheap fountain drinks!  Check it out here (you’re welcome).
  • Dark chocolate covered power berries, also a Trader Joes item.  A great way to fulfill your chocolate craving AND feel healthy about it :). They are super delicious.

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

  • So I know I went on a little self tanning strike earlier this year (you can read more about it here ).  I will have you know that I went 2 months without using any sort of tanning products (that’s really good for me… don’t judge!). But now that summer is here, let’s be real: I want at least a little bit of a tan. Preferably in a non skin cancerish way.  So here’s my new philosophy on self tanner: it’s ok if it makes it look like my skin tone has gotten some summer color; it’s not ok if it changes my skin tone entirely, especially to the Oompa loompa orange tone.  Anyway, here’s my way of accomplishing just that: Jergen’s Natural Glow Express.  It actually smells good (not that yucky normal self tanner smell), and after one day of using it, I look like I’ve spent a day in the sun when really I was in the shade.  Or inside the pool covered in sunscreen :).
  • Este Lauder bronzer.   I love that stuff! I’ve been using it for almost 3 years.  I’m thankful that my mom works for Este Lauder because I’m not trying to spend $28 on bronzer, but if you are trying to you should definitely get this one.  Preferably from my mom.  She gets commission.
  • Bath & Bodyworks new “White Citrus” scented lotion.  My mother-in-law bought me some for Mother’s Day and it is the perfect summer fragrance!

BABY SWAG

  • I am loving this baby float for the pool!  It is the only one that I could find for as early as 6 months old and Riley is just adorable in it.  She kicks her little legs and makes her way around the pool :).  And it has a sun shade so it protects her precious little skin!

FASHION FINDS

  • I’m really digging the new long skirt trend going on this summer.  Now I haven’t actually bought one yet, but I intend to.  I’m just waiting for the right one to come along.  And I know that when I find it, I will just know that it is “the one.”  But in the meantime, I do love them and I am thankful that they’re in (you know, post baby bod and all).
  • Big floppy hats :).  I’ve always wanted one and I finally bought one this year!  Wearing one to the pool (or lake or beach) just makes me feel like I’m on a constant vacation.  And that is a goooood feeling ;-).

READING

  • Anything by Sophie Kinsella.  The Undomestic Goddess is my favorite of hers thus far and I am on the library waiting list for her latest book I’ve Got Your Number.   Any of  her books are great, light summer reading and her witty humor will keep you laughing, which I love!
  • Doing a book club with friends.  I started doing this via Facebook with some friends this spring and now we are on our 3rd book.  It’s been a really fun, encouraging and challenging experience.  There is something so neat about hearing other people’s thoughts on the same thing you are reading!  Definitely a fun idea for a summer hobby :).

So there you have it! My favorite things of summer :).  What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to know!